How to position a brand
By Maxwell Ranasinghe.
What is positioning
“ Disembodied mental image ,
specifically, a location in consumers
“Positioning is doing something to
the collective mind of the consumer”
There is a comparative perspective
in positioning as positioning implies
the existence of something else.
The positioning is the act of creating
a perception or image or status in
Positioning is used to make a specific
brand appear to be different and better
than all competing brands
Key points to note are
It is a strategic activity( not tactical)
It is aimed at developing a
sustainable competitive advantage
It is concerned with Managing
Brand image and reputation are the
Strategic not Tactical
Positioning is not a short term
Change the consumers perception
and reach a unique position.
Lasting image that is not dependant
on the product features or other
elements that can be copied.(by
Positioning should negate the
situation of your competitors
catching up and overtaking you.
Aims at long term competitive
Should offer a proposition of high
benefit or significance
Real brand strength that reflects a
competitive advantage has to be
The personality and other intangible
values to be projected.
Brand has to be capable of
consistently performing at least as
the competing brands.
Consumers do not know who
produces goods and services
They may not know all the
features of a product or service
But they know in their minds
why they like the product. They
think in terms of the benefits. It
could be tangible or intangible.
But it is real to consumers.
Create favorable perceptions
Once the perceptions are created it
is difficult to shift
It applies to both good and bad
It is very difficult to convince a
consumer to try again a product that
she or he had bad experience.
If the product lives up to its promise,
it has a great chance of achieving a
brand image if not it will lack
Positioning is an ongoing
activity to sustain the image
Once a favourable image is created
it should be sustained.
It should be continually reinforced.
A long term communications strategy
Consumers are bombarded with
thousands of messages everyday.
The Challenge is to keep the brand
at the forefront of their mind.
Strategies for brand
Features and Attributes
This is a very clear strategy
People constantly look for
Producing unique features and
attributes is rather difficult
Many features and attributes
could be copied by others in at
least in long term
Continuous Innovations are
Closely connected to the features
This strategy stresses the benefits of
Benefits not be vague. It should be
clear, attainable and useful.
Ceylinco Insurance “On the spot
claims payment” is convenient for
customers not having to go to police
and lodge claims and undergo a
Brands that solves problems for
consumers are appreciated.
This strategy requires a full
understanding of consumer
problems, well trained staff with
social and communication skills
Ceylinco “On the spot claim
payment” solves the problem of
lengthy claim process.
E-channeling- solves the patients
going to the hospital twice, once to
make an appointment and then to
consult the doctor.
Positioning against the
To be handled with care from
legal and advertising standards
Coke and Pepsi
Munchee and Maliban
Claiming a position in the
market such No1 – 2nd Challenger
Corporate reputation and
Existing brand and reputation to
be used as a positioning
e.g.; from the pioneers of cellular
with the approval of Dental
When two competitors mergeThey were tough competitors but
now a strong alliance…….
Target user positioning says
that they clearly address the
specific requirement of their
High alcohol beer for hard liquor
drinkers who wants to show
they are moderate drinkers or to
beer drinkers who needs the
Instant food for people who do
not have time for cooking.
Cause related marketing.
Associate the company with a
worthwhile cause such as
social, environmental cause.
E.g.; prevent accidents = CTC
protect wildlife = ODEL
It gives additional impetus to the
brand as it is conscious of social
and environmental aspects.
Positioning brands on
dreams, goals hopes, longings
E.g.;-Lotteries in Sri Lanka
Luxury cars, Holidays,
designer dresses, fashion
How and when consumers use
products can help marketers
position their products
Beer- relax and unwind after a
Coffee- -doExpress sophistication by
consuming a special brand at
special times. Champagne at
Value for money concept
Value for money expresses a
combination of price and quality
E.g.: Air con intercity bus
Positioning based on personality can
be one of the powerful strategies
Creating personality to the product or
service make it unique where
competitors cannot match
You got to project personality
characteristics that the target market
wants in the product
E.g.; Mercedes Benz – Rolex
watches, Hilton Hotel
Emotion is a very powerful
nationality and many other
techniques are used in appealing to
the emotional drive of the consumer.
Sisil fridge, Maliban Cream Cracker,
Elephant Soda, Orange barley, MD
Jam, DSI shoes
Combination of positioning
Most of the products do not
solely depend on one strategy.
They use a combination of
Such as value for money,
Aspirations and personality
Corporate reputation and cause.
How many positions can a
Brand should have only one central
A position presents the identity and
personality of the brand to the
Multiple positioning in the same
market segment seem odd and
Discuss in relation to “Nestomalt” of
E.g.; Nestomalt’s central
positioning is nutritious drinkbut it is presented various
segments in different forms
such as – energy giving drink for
active people- dietary
supplement for elderly- growth
supplement for youngstersrelaxation drink for people with
Make the brand live through
Positioning is strategic and it is not
Unless re-positioning the positioning
will not change
The sole aim of the positioning is to
persuade customer that this brand is
different and better than other
It tries to occupy a special position in
the minds of the customer.
Everything relates to the consumer
to the brand has to be consistent. No
Positioning and segmentation
If the product is globally focused on one
market segment a standard positioning
could be adopted such as Nike, Rolex and
If the product has different segments then
different positioning may be required. Eg.
Positioning may be perceived differently from
market to market – e.g.. Beer may be an average
drink one country but may be regarded as a
prestige drink in another country.
Positioning in action
1. Identify the Target Audience (ITA)
Segment the market and select the target
Address the needs of the market
Marketing communications matters a lot in
Discuss in detail with add agencies
Internal staff should also know the
objectives and the exact position that the
product is going to be positioned
2. Identify Point of Parity
- Know the similar product
features and benefits other
products in the market
- Keep an eye on the
competition and their
3. Portray Point of Difference
- Mention a USP
- Indicate the benefits that
consumers get in comparison to
-State the brand name and
inform the market that “it is
better than others”
4. Provide Reasons to Believe
on your reputation
and brand name
Talk about the guarantees
Talk about testimonies
Mobile phone service providers
Denominating Colour-Product Attribute-Rating
Light Blue Colour Line
Value Added Services (VAS) 5
Green Color Line
Value Added Services (VAS) 3
Red Colour Line
Value Added Services (VAS)4
Dark Blue Colour Line
Value Added Services (VAS)
Orange Colour Line
Value Added Services (VAS)
This Rating should be based on research
Lickert scale questions (from 1-5) can be used
to do the research
So you know how to do it. Then go and do it
in the market. Good Luck. University of
So you know how to do
Then go and do it in the market
Good luck…….. Maxwell
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